Tag Archives: family

This year I firmly resolve……

New Year

Hello 2016, good-bye 2015.  It is a New Year and time to start making all sorts of positive changes in our lives and get rid of all the negatives and bad habits.  This year (as in every year for way too long) I resolve to lose weight, get fit, control my spending, make a budget, be nicer and on and on and on.  Are you with me on this?  Why do we do this to our selves?  Yes, it is a new year, but what has really changed since December 31 other than the year number?  Did we become new people at the stroke of midnight?  Why is January 1st so magic and not March 1?

The arbiter of all knowledge, Wikipedia, says this about New Year Resolutions:   A New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year’s Day.  

I love that phrase “something slightly nice”.  I could probably stick with being slightly nice.  I do open doors for people and hold them open for those following me.  Wow, I’m ahead of the year already!

Our Wiki friends further tell us that this form of self abuse has been around for a long time, to wit:  Babylonians made promise to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.  The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.  In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season  each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.

I have never personally met a Babylonian, Roman or knight and understand that they are no longer around so I am not sure if they were any better at keeping their resolves back then than I am today.

Studies have shown that the most common reason for 35% of NYR (New Year Resolvers) failing is because of their unrealistic goals.  Also 33% of NYR  didn’t keep track and 23% forgot about it.  I don’t know about you, but I fit into each category.   I always resolve to do something that I know darn well I won’t, I never really write my resolutions down and then I can’t remember what they were to start with.  Really, I shouldn’t feel too bad since  I also found this nugget:  A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning.

Now don’t you feel better?  Granted, I don’t know where in the world the University of Bristol is to start with and they may all be slackers anyway, but if the majority of 3,000 people don’t keep their resolutions, then I can’t consider myself a lone failure.  After all, there is comfort in numbers and who really wants to be out of the mainstream?  Don’t you find people who do keep all their resolutions  to be just a little bit sanctimonious?

There have been years that I have kept my resolutions for three or four months.  Want to know my secret?  Just morph your resolution into Lent.  Want to drop some weight?  Give up doughnuts.   Of course the year I gave up doughnuts for Lent was a lesson in what not to do.  My office was right next door to a small town mom & pop bakery and I had been in the habit of popping in a couple of days (5) a week for a doughnut or six.  They were just these little circles of heaven but they certainly had a way of making clothes too tight.  So, that is what I gave up.  However, I did not give up maple bars, bear claws, cinnamon twists etc.  Guess who did not fit into her Easter dress?  But still, I did sort of keep a resolution.

I think the best thing it is to not call them resolutions and try not to be too broad.  (Although I do have to be very broad regarding what I give up for Lent, since obviously I cheat.  Henceforth I give up all Fried and Baked Sugared Breakfast Pastry.)  Setting a goal is somehow a little more manageable.  Having specific end date helps too.  I don’t know about you, but I have trouble seeing more than a month or two ahead.  Doing something specific for a real length of time is just beyond me.  Oh, I start off well and can usually end up in pretty good shape, but it is the middle that does me in.  Take getting the house under control.  I joined a Declutter in 365 Days group and rocked it for about three months.  My cabinets were works of art, my drawers so very neat and my pantry actually organized.  Then I didn’t make my menus and master grocery list and the CDs never got organized and let’s not even talk about the coat closet.  But come November and the holidays are looming, I found the declutter calendar pages I had ignored and actually got November and December’s done (I’ll work on April – October this year, maybe).

One of the best resolutions I’ve heard is to make no more resolutions on January 1.  Frankly, November 22 makes more sense to me.  My birthday is November 21 and if I am going to make some big changes, it should be at the beginning of MY new year.   So in a way, that lets me off the hook (for 2015 anyway).  And even better, it gives me plenty of time to think, really think, about what I want to do or accomplish for my next year.   There are some things that at this age I should not even consider.  Really, I’m not going to EVER get back to what I looked like thirty years ago, either in weight or fitness and that’s just fine.  If I haven’t mastered the art of magazine pretty housekeeping by now, I’m not going to no matter what I resolve.  And I’m just too darn lazy to cook healthy, nutritious meals every night.  (After all, I am the mother that set three different kinds of cookies on the table along with a gallon of milk and called it dinner.)

But I do want to be more patient and helpful, I do want to make the world a better place even if it is just my own little corner, I do want to be healthy so I can have a long life with Nort, and I do want my family and friends know just how much I love them.  So maybe that is what I will resolve on November 22, 2016.  After all, I have eleven months to practice so I can get it right.

 

We march to our own drummers

We sang

Have you ever felt like you were the only one marching to the drummer you hear in your head?  You know the one I mean, the one that tempts you with what could be considered inappropriate actions.  Now I’m not talking about really bad stuff.  Well, if you gave in and decided to finally streak thirty years after the craze ended and you are showing the whole world your older, less than buff body, that would be bad.  No, I mean things like  joining your daughter  at her Zumba  class in your  1980’s Jane Fonda work out gear you bought to use the last time you took an exercise class (bonus points if it was Jazzercise).   Or trying out Karoke with your version of Walk on the Wild Side (the only one I will do and it still takes more than one or twelve beers to get me to do it, but when I do, I ROCK).  Just the tame things that made your children and now your grandchildren roll their eyes and play like they don’t know you.

By now we should be used to making young ones wish the floor would swallow them up.  If you were a typical parent, you embarrassed your children on a regular basis.  Not that the little precious ones EVER did that to you.  When Amanda was just a wee child, maybe twoish, I took her to see the Easter Bunny at Central Mall and have her picture taken.  She was so darn cute and dressed in ruffles like we did back then.  She was so excited and I could just envision the great photo I would have.  We stood in line and she was perfect.  Then, we got up to EB himself and she had a complete and total melt down.  Jumping up and down and screaming.  She was not scared, she was not shy, she had seen other kids cry and get fussed over so she just thought she would do it to.

Well my mother had certainly taught me better so I grabbed her little hand and removed us from the area.  Boy, did that piss her off!  Her audience was gone so the tantrum just got a little bit worse.  There we were with people walking by and glaring at me (we did that back then because parents were supposed to control their children not like today but that is a whole ‘nother thing).  By now she was laying on the floor doing the classic whirling around in circle fit and shrieking like a banshee.  I stepped into an open store and sort of hid from her.  Of course I kept an eye on her but no one in their right mind would have grabbed her, most people just moved by a little quicker.  When my darling daughter noticed I was no longer standing there ready to give her what her heart desired, she got real quiet and still.  I came out, picked her up and we went home.  That was the last fit she threw in public.  I am still mortified thinking about it.  Oh the condemnation of other mothers.  Humiliating!

Luke was no better.  I took him with me to buy groceries.  He was so darn cute.  I had dressed him in his hillbilly best, flannel shirt (must have been winter), overhauls and the cutest little work boots you had ever seen.  Now this grocery store was in Fort Smith, the big city, not the little store in Mulberry.   I had a fully loaded cart and was in the check out line unloading.  I can’t remember what I put on the conveyor belt now, but Luke asked what that was for.  Why, it’s such and such for dinner tonight.  In a very loud and clear voice he complained, “But I want ‘possum for dinner AGAIN!”  Every head turned, looked at him, then at me and kind of shrugged.  I know they went home and told their families that there was a woman in the store who routinely feed her family ‘possum.  Cringe.

Children only can really embarrass us when they are really young and we are young and unsure of ourselves and our ability to be adults.  You will notice that grandparents are never embarrassed, they just look on in amusement.  That’s because they have seen it all before.  Fortunately, kids eventually lose the ability to embarrass their parents and they become the victims.  I had a friend who loved to juggle and was quite proud of his skills.  Anytime he took his daughter to the grocery store he would have to get vegetables or fruit of some sort.  Did he really want to buy it?  No.  Did she really want to go to the produce section with him? No.  Did she have a choice?  Again no.  You do see where this is going don’t you?  Look he would say, I can juggle two oranges!  And watch this!  I can juggle three potatoes.  Wait!  I’m going to try four onions!  I don’t know if she has recovered yet, or if she has taken up juggling produce for her daughters now.

Those of us who were impressed by Monty Python and some of their skits would sometimes engage in Silly Walks (no I never did this) when out in public.  You would see some Adult Who Should Know Better with a pre-teen or teenager trapped with a parent in public (the worse fate ever) and said parent would be taking huge, high steps or waddling like a duck.  And if the poor kid was really unlucky, the supposed adult would use a really bad fake accent.

Now what you might ask brought these fun memories on?  I’ll tell you.  I was in Winn-Dixie hunting and gathering and minding my own business.  You might have noticed now that grocery stores (not Wal-Mart, but actual grocery stores) have the best piped in music.  I usually sing along but just to myself.  But not that day.  The oldie goldie Gale Garnett song We’ll Sing in the Sunshine was playing.  Now how long has it been since you’ve heard that?  Ages and ages.  Do you remember every word?  Well of course you do.  So here I was, happily strolling down the beans & rice aisle, singing out loud,

I will never love you
The cost of love’s too dear
But though I’ll never love you
I’ll live with you one year

When I was joined by another female voice chiming in,

And we will sing in the sunshine
We’ll laugh every day
We’ll sing in the sunshine
And I’ll be on my way

And even better, a deep male voice joined us,

I’ll sing to you each morning
I’ll kiss you every night
But darlin’, don’t cling to me
I’ll soon be out of sight.

Yes, we had a trio!  We were singing out loud in public! In a grocery store!  You can be sure that in other aisle grandparents were singing along also and mortifying a grandchild or two.  I can’t wait to take Maddie back to Winn-Dixie, preferably with one of her friends.  I bet there will be a song I can sing along to and just watch her play like she doesn’t know me.   So who wants to join me?  Or can you think of something equally fun?  Share!

Make new friends, but keep the old…

Friendsquote

Lo many years ago, when I was a Girl Scout, one of the first scout songs we learned was Make New Friends, But Keep the Old.  We sang it with gusto (some of us with more gusto than tune) in a round.  I think it was Mother’s favorite.  As a kid, making new friends came easy and we took them for granted.  Friends came, friends went, some came back, others left.  I had Girl Scout camp friends that I only saw at summer, but during those camp days, we were best of buds.  I had friends that I met at other types of events like cheerleading and Rainbow Girls.  Growing up in a small town, school friends were also neighbor friends.  We had packs of boys and girls that morphed and changed as we grew older and developed new interest.

Mother taught us more than the song, she taught us how to value friendships.  She was an only child and while she a some cousins, it was her friends that were her siblings.  Until she died, she lunched regularly with her high school friends, The Nifty Fifty.  Her colleagues  at Arkansas Tech were cherished as friends and family, not just work buddies and her RV women friends were held as just as dear.   She instilled in Laura and me that we were not only sisters, but best friends.  And Laura is my most beloved sister and friend (remember that when I piss you off).

I met my very best and longest friend in grade school and even though she moved off, our friendship never wavered.  Jana and I would spend weeks at each other’s house in the summer and sometimes other times of the year.  Her parents were parents to me and mine to her.  She got pregnant and by golly, so did I.  My Goddaughter Shannon was my daughter’s first friend.  We had them together as soon as I could travel with Amanda.  They didn’t have a choice to be anything other than friends.  To this day they are still best friends and Lord willing, their kids will always be friends.  I cannot imagine my life without Jana and her family.

Over time I have had so many friends.  That is not bragging, it is actually uttered in some bit of amazement.  How did I get to be so lucky?  Some friends are as close as family for a season, some as close as family now.  All my best stories and times involve friends as well as family.  Friends in some ways form us as much and sometimes even more than family.  I’ve often read that friends are the families we give ourselves.  My friends have made me so much (for better or worse) who I am today.  Now, Nort, Luke and I are in Mississippi far from our families still in Arkansas.  But you know what, we have found dear friends here and created a Mississippi family.   We share birthdays, holidays, victories and failures with them.  What would we do without them.

Thanks to the internet and social media, High School friends remain close to me and I love that I get to follow their adventures even though we are miles apart.  And there is such a trill when someone from the past, that your conscience mind has forgotten pops up with a friend request.  Wow!  I remember you!  I know that there is the perception that Facebook friends are not “real” friends, but I disagree.  While it may not have the physical touch of sitting in one another’s house neither does the telephone or a letter.  These school, sorority, former co-workers and former neighbors are my friends and I cherish each and every one.

And now, I get to make new friends.  The internet brings people from all over the world together.  Need someone to explain a fine point on a wooden boat  you’re building (like my husband), there is a guy in Norway to help out.  Need support for some rare disease that is threatening your child, you have support any time of the day or night.  And no matter what anyone tells you, these people are your friends.  Now, I would be remiss if I did not point out that not everyone is who they appear to be on line.  But we are adults here and have learned a thing or two by having been around the block at least once.  Just as we do in “real life” with potential friends, we should do in “internet life”.   Don’t get into a car with a just met “friend” for a road trip (especially if it means traveling a dark, lonely road) and don’t send money to a web friend (especially if they are a deposed member of royalty).

I have found some bloggers that although I don’t actually know them yet, I am planning on them becoming my friends.  I am awarding them the Liebster Award because  I think these are really great people.  Or at least their blogs make me think that.  These are people that made me want to come back and read more and even more important, thought that you, my very discerning followers, would want to read.  Tanya of Tanyas101 thought this of me (see my response here).

Jennica.   I dare you to read this post and not laugh out loud.  How can I not love this woman and want to be her friend.  She has such a great out look on life.  And, she lives on a horse ranch!  I want her to invite me for a visit.  Jennicaspeaks.

Amanda.  I have a very soft spot for anyone named Amanda.  While this Amanda is way young, she has such a delightful out look and I see such potential for a wonderful mature adult (cough, age of grayer).  Her take on ballet exercise programs is pretty darn funny.  Whoaskedheranyway.

Lora.  What a great outlook she has and I want to be friends with anyone who likes to travel.  And share pictures. And cook.  And have fun.  Maybe if I ask real nice, she will hop in her RV and come to Mississippi.  Shotsfromtheroad.

Mary Grace.  I really didn’t want to like her because I am so jealous.  She has a boat.  She gets to go places on that boat.  Her pictures make me want to run away.  Oh, wait.  If we are friends, maybe she will let me go somewhere on her boat.  Okay.  I like her.  Helialetitbe.

Andrea Marlene.  I really, really want to go to Canada so I need to make a friend there.  And, I just loved her post on Facebook fights.  She is so right on.  It is good to see a sane voice on the World Wide Interweb.  Also the name of her blog is just great.  Bumblebirdblog.

As a winner of the award, there are certain responsibilities; answer eleven questions, give eleven facts about you and award your own Liebster Award to five fellow bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.  (Google it for better explanations) So, here are my questions for them.  I am so looking forward to reading what they have to say in response to the questions and their eleven things about themselves.  And I bet you will too.

1. What do think is your greatest strength?

2. What are the  things your spouse/partner/significant other says about you?

3. Where do you go to find comfort?

4. What is your favorite thing to wear?

5. What are the first three things you would do if you won a million dollars (or the equivalent )?

6. Who is/are your hero(s)?

7. Book then movie or movie then book?

8. Why do you blog?

9. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be?

10. What was the best piece of advice you have been given.

11. What are the top three things you like to do?

Okay now.  Let all give each other a great big group hug and be friends!

Happy Birthday America

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!

The 4th of July has always been a special day for our family/extended family, in fact, the whole month of July was celebrated.  My aunt, Sister, was born on the 4th.  Actually, her name was Cora (as a child I thought it was the ugliest name I’d ever heard but now I think it is quite lovely) but she NEVER allowed us to call her that, only Sister.  Daddy and Sam called her Cora, but they were the only family members allowed to.  I remember calling her Aunt Cora once and her head spun like Reagan’s in The Exorcist.  I never did that again.

Now why I called her “Aunt” is beyond me because I never called any of my aunts and uncles by that  honorific, they were always just Lucy, Floyd, Bobbie, Stan, Elmer, Maggie etc.  Ooops.  Somehow I digressed.  Daddy, Laura and Ruthie’s birthdays were in the middle of July, one right after the other.  Since birthdays were cause for celebration you can see how it was just one big party after another.

Depending on our ages, and later, the ages of our children, most of the Big 4th of July Spectaculars were held around the pool.  From bright and early in the morning until time for fireworks, there would be a horse shoe game going. Daddy loved horse shoes.  None of those safety first rubber or plastic abominations either. Just real, hard, ringing horse shoes circling a real, metal stake.  The biggest draw back to his game was that the stakes never both seemed to be pulled from the ground until at least one toe was broken (or at least felt like it) from running into one or Mother fell over it.

There was shuffle board on the patio and a the ping pong table.  Depending on the year there was either live music because someone brought a guitar or records.  As usual, if there was music, there was going to be some dancing going on too.  There was food, dear Lord, was their food.  Hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, ribs, slaw, potato salad,  real honest baked beans, other salads, cakes, pies, cookies.  Every one would bring huge bowls or platters of something wonderful.

As a kid, when Ruthie would make her world famous ice cream, and Sam was hand cranking the churn, we would fight over who got to sit on the towel covered top.  Sam would sneak us chunks of ice covered in ice salt.  Yum!  Now that I think about it, ewwww groossssss.  Bear in mind this was the man who was a dairy inspector for the Health Department.  He would not allow us to drink certain brands of milk because he had not inspected their dairy farms.  Nor would he (much to mine and Laura’s embarrassment) eat in a strange dinner without checking the health inspection certificate or if he was really unsure, the kitchen itself.  But ice cream ice covered in God knows what and salt.  That was a treat.

And the fireworks.  Oh. My. Goodness.  We were not city folk but rather lived on top of a hill with a long, long dirt driveway and plenty of safe area to stage a spectacular show (The hose was always on and out, just in case).  We had a family friend who always had a firework stand so you can just imagine.  And of course, everyone who came brought a load of fireworks too.  Depending on our ages and later, the ages of our children, there were firecrackers, rockets, fountains, sparklers and more things that go boom than you can imagine.  One year we had lots little kids.  That was the year of the snakes (oh my gosh did those things stink).  I would be willing to bet there are still traces of where hundreds of those nasty things were lit on the patio.  But boy were they ever fun to watch.

Speaking of firecrackers, there was the 4th or maybe before the 4th (I’m old, I lose dates sometimes), we were either on a lake or river somewhere (see above).  I must have been around 14 or 15 or there abouts.  Mother and Daddy and other adults were on the water and we kids doing what ever kids do, probably laying in the sun growing wrinkles and sun spots.  Mother had very carefully put the camera, her clothes and stuff on one of those plastic tubing & aluminum frame lounges so popular once upon a time.  Larry had been lighting fire crackers as little boys could do back then.  Probably irritating us as only little brothers can irritate their teenage sisters.  Then, tragedy  struck.  He lit a whole, huge  string of them.  In his panic at the thought of all of them going off at once, he threw the hissing mess away, with them landing under the chaise.   The bangs and screams of two girls quickly brought the parents back in time to watch lounge chair, clothes and camera explode.  Now you may think Mother’s first concern might have been, “Are you all okay” or at least “What were you thinking?”, but no.  “That was my new bra! (which had melted to the chair)” followed by Daddy’s “That was a new camera! (which also suffered serious damage)”  Ah, family memories.

But mostly, our celebrations were pure out and out joy.  Over the years, traditions and locations changed.  Faces changed.  People, including myself, moved away and can’t join in like we wish.  My brother and sister-in-law, Wesley and Dee, play host and hostess now.  There are a couple of new generations to play games, eat, swim and shoot off fireworks there.  We take Maddie to the coast for the Fishing Rodeo, Crab Festival and what not then fire works over the water.  It’s not the same, but it is our new tradition here in Mississippi.  I had to get all nostalgic the other day and cry a bit over celebrations past and the people I loved so much who were part of that and are now gone.  So I called Laura so she could cry with me and relive some of those days.  We wallowed in melancholy for a bit and then she cheered me up as only she can.  Her knee surgery has been so successful and rehabilitation gone so well, that she is going to do our famous Yankee Doodle Dandy  patriotic salute, high kicks and all.  I do so hope Libby has the camera handy.